Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Class Action Lawsuit Against Mahalo

There is a potential class action lawsuit against Mahalo.com and founder, Jason Calacanis.  This lawsuit is in response to Mahalo's recent action in which all pages were confiscated from Mahalo page writers. 

I have read several outcries against this lawsuit.  I don't know if these outcries were written by Mahalo cronies or by misinformed Mahalo members.  But whoever those people are, they really should get their facts straight before trying to make it look like ex-Mahalo writers are just being vindictive and are just trying to get money.  Because that is not the case, and I'm speaking as an ex-Mahalo writer.

The reason for this lawsuit stems from the misrepresentation of Mahalo/Jason Calacanis to its writers as it relates to "page management".  Mahalo's Terms of Service clearly stated "you own your content".  There is no way those words can be misinterpreted.  Even if Jason didn't mean for those words to be there, the simple truth is that they were there.  So when Jason decided that Mahalo's business platform wasn't working, and decided to go a different route, they had no right to confiscate the content that the writers (aka "page managers") had created.

If this lawsuit were to go to court and the plaintiffs were to prevail, it would be a great precedent for all freelance writers.  It would serve as an example that content sites cannot steal from writers without there being some kind of legal recourse. 

Jason Calacanis can learn a thing or two from the content site, eHow.  When eHow changed is business platform last April, it did not remove the pages that it's writers had created.  All writers retained ownership of their work, can still edit their work, and continue to receive revenue share from that work.  This is what Jason should have done when he decided to change Mahalo's business platform.  He should have allowed the "page managers" to keep their work or he should have offered to buy their work.  He should not have been allowed to just confiscate it, and then try to cover his ass by changing the Terms of Service. 

I just don't understand why anyone would defend Mahalo/Jason Calacanis for these reprehensible actions.

To learn more about this potential class action lawsuit or to contact the law firm involved, please click here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mahalo Changes TOS to Cover Its Ass

Can Jason Calacanis get any more evil?   Jason has gone ahead and changed Mahalo's Terms of Service to state that Mahalo now owns all the content that its subscribers write.  This is as a result of Mahalo's recent "important and exciting" announcement that they are taking revenue sharing away from Mahalo pages, and will only be hiring a limited number of writers to continue writing Mahalo pages for a flat fee.  Everyone else will be losing their pages and will receive nothing further for their work on those pages.  But of course, Mahalo/Jason will continue to benefit financially from those pages. 

Mahalo's original Terms of Service under Proprietary Rights read:

"You own your Content.  We claim no intellectual property rights over the Content you provide to the Services through your Mahalo Account.  Your profile and materials uploaded remain yours."

Mahalo's new Terms of Service state:

"All content you write and submit to Mahalo in exchange for payment in Mahalo Dollars becomes the intellectual property of Mahalo.  This includes questions and answers on the Mahalo Answers system, submissions to Mahalo Tasks and changes made to the content of Mahalo Topic Pages.  Edits and text added to your personal Mahalo user profile remains yours."

Like I've said in previous posts - Mahalo is a shady company that shouldn't be trusted.  They do not have their writers' best interest at heart.  It's just sad that we all had to learn this the hard way.  And even sadder that people will continue to believe in Mahalo/Jason Calacanis just to get screwed over in the end.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Mahalo Needs To Do To Succeed

Jason Calacanis has described Mahalo as a "human powered search engine" -- but isn't Mahalo just another glorified content mill?  How does Mahalo really differ from sites such as Squidoo, HubPages, eHow (now Demand Media), FireHow, BrightHub, Associated Content and all the rest?  Well, it really doesn't.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mahalo Ends Ad Revenue Sharing and Moves to a Flat-Rate Payment System

Jason Calacanis announced on June 23, 2010 that they will be doing away with revenue sharing on managed pages, and instead use a flat-rate payment system to pay it's writers. I wonder if this change has anything to do with Jason Rapp coming on board as President of Mahalo?  Hmmmm.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mahalo Review: Cash Out!

If you are going to stick with Mahalo, my advice to you is to cash out every chance that you get.  Don't wait to accumulate a large sum before cashing out.  Because if they find a reason to ban you from the site, they will not pay you the money that you have accumulated thus far.  Just like in my case.  All the money I made in March and April was never paid out to me because they banned my account for speaking out against page revocations. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mahalo Erases My Existence

Wow, I guess I really made the people at Mahalo mad!  I have discovered that they have removed all of my Answers from Mahalo Answers.  That's over 900 Answers that have been removed from Mahalo Answers, and that includes over 300 Best Answers.  How is removing helpful answers from the site supposed to be in the best interest of the Mahalo community?  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mahalo Denies My Payment

Mahalo has refused to pay me the money I am owed.  Mahalo owes me almost $500 ($329.86 for March and approximately $150 for April).  I have sent them emails and even sent Jason Calacanis a "snail mail" letter to his Santa Monica office, but have yet to receive a response.  I'm sure I never will.